Dinner Without Flora
So for her last night on earth, er I mean in my flat, Flora demanded a warming stew for dinner at 9 pm.
Precisely at 9pm. On the table.
So I made a nice beef daube for 9pm. Precisely. Too bad she didn't turn up.
Other plans apparently. Though she did offer me a present. I hope it's not another fucking duck.
Oh, just one thing worth noting -
Despite how marvellous it tastes this casserole gives me the most astonishing squits.
Strange really - it was definitely properly cooked and everything,
but there seem to be certain combinations of fat which just give me the runs.
Probably you'd be fine. Probably Flora would have been fine.
I have the same problem when I make real French Mayonnaise with egg yolks and virgin olive oil. Straight through me!
If I use whole egg, or add in some other oil then everything's fine.
It's probably just me.
Beef Brisket Daube style stew with star anise, soy sauce and fish sauce
Now this stuff is rich. And I'm talking black treacle, crude oil, and Marmite rich.
So you won't eat much of it and you will
need something starchy and absorbent to contain it.
I made up some dumplings with mine, but a good dose of mashed potato really helps.
It's also bloody salty. And I'm talking Tom Kitchin salty.
So despite what John Torode says, given the richness of the sauce I really don't think you need to add any more salt.
To anything. Though perhaps the fact that I couldn't find a pig's trotter and had to use a smoked hough didn't exactly help.
The brisket is pretty damn gorgeous though.
The whole thing takes about 3 hours to cook, 4 hours to make.
Which is long enough to fiddle around trying out a new Beetroot Rösti
to go with.
- 2kg brisket cut into good 2" cubes
- salt and pepper
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 whole star anise
- 100ml port
- 400ml red wine
- 1 pig's trotter
- 300ml beef stock
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1x440ml can Guinness
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas 5).
Trim excess fat from the brisket then cut it into big chunks, at least 2" cubes.
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan or casserole dish and fry in batches (without filling the pan) until well browned.
Chop the vegetables into not too-large pieces, maybe ½".
Heat some more oil in the casserole. Add the star anise, the onions, then the carrots, then the celery and fry until just soft.
Add the crushed garlic, stir through, then add the port and the red wine.
Bubble the liquid until it is reduced by half.
Add the brisket and the pig's trotter to the casserole and cover with the stock.
Return to the boil, skim if necessary, then add the soy sauce, stout and fish sauce.
Cook covered in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
Take out the casserole now, and strain it. Return the liquid to the casserole together with the trotter,
and reduce it until the sauce thickens. Adjust the seasoning.
Lift out the trotter and keep the meat (apparently it goes well on toast). Return the other ingredients to the sauce,
add the dumplings (if using) and return the casserole to the oven for a final 30 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes.
Old fashioned suet dumplings. Perfect for stews. Good with a hint of herbs.
Dumplings. Old school.
Makes 8 smallish dumplings
Pick your herbs.
- 6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
- 3 oz (75g) shredded suet
- 1-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- water to mix
Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the suet, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Gradually add sufficient water and mix with a knife to form a soft, pliable dough.
Divide and shape into 8 balls using floured hands.
Add the dumplings to your stew, cover (though you don't have to in the oven, but you'll get crispier dumplings if you don't)
and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the dumplings are swollen, light and fluffy.
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